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Highlights—July 19, 2008

  • MarketWatch: IBM earnings up 22% on services, software deals. By Rex Crum. IBM Corp. on Thursday said second-quarter profit rose more than 22% from a year ago as the technology and services giant reported sales of almost $27 billion, led by strong growth in the company's software and services businesses. Additionally, IBM felt strongly enough about its performance that it raised its full-year earnings forecast to at least $8.75 a share from $8.50 a share. ...

    "It was probably the best quarter Big Blue has had in recent memory, if not ever," said Bob Djurdjevic, president of Annex Research. "Wall Street doomsayers and recession buzzards had better look for trouble outside the IT industry, for things could not be better in this sector." ...

    IBM also said it signed new services deals worth $14.7 billion, up 12% from a year ago, giving the company a total backlog of $117 billion in services deals.

  • The following are selected comments from readers of the MarketWatch article:
    • It is SOOOO nice to see that my 15% paycut and no raise due to lack of funding to Technical Services is paying off for IBM. I honestly hope that Sam gets a major multi-million dollar bonus for this hugh increase. After all, they have the cash on hand to fund the execs stock options at $0 per share, but cant give the employees a decent bump in pay. Most people in Technical Services received less than 2% "top contributor award" as a raise.
    • IBM profits up 22% while management pleaded poverty on raises in June. Many employees received very little or nothing while Sam and the other execs get rich. time to unionize! www.allianceibm.org
    • I don't work for IBM, but I do work for another large multinational as a software engineer. I would join a union in a heartbeat.
    • No raise again this year (IBM doesn't offer COLA for employees) and with inflation I make less than 8 years ago. Yes it's good to have a job, however with such a widening gap between fantastic profits and no raises, its disheartening. Can't even purchase office supplies but Sam gets an 11% bump? In the last 4 years I have had one raise, my performance has been excellent, just no money available, according to management (because it's going to executives and shareholders). Training? What training, that went out the window when Gerstner retired. Training is all but a special case approval now. paulianna2002 There is a Union - The Alliance@IBM CWA Local 1701. For all employees I ask you consider joining, we cant change things unless we unite. Regards Dan
    • Palmisano and other executives are forgetting the many hard-working employees who have built IBM into the great company that it is. They are amassing huge fortunes to leave to their children while I, a permanent employee, received a 15% pay cut. I will have nothing to leave my children except college loans they will have to pay off.
    • Let's see, I retired in 1989 - If my right hand only had two fingers, then I could count the number of increases! Wish I got a 22% raise! Any raise would be nice. Hope you are reading this Palmisano
  • E-mail sent to Alliance@IBM members. Excerpts: IBM has posted the financial result for the past quarter--a whopping 22% increase! Many employees have posted comments on the Alliance web site of receiving no or very little in pay raises. Manufacturing workers in Burlington, who average $30,000 a year were told by their management in June not to expect any pay raise. Employees across the country have said that management pleaded poverty when it came time to hand out raises. Retirees still have not received a COLA.

    Yet CEO Sam Palmisano received an 11% pay raise and he and other executives have been enriching themselves from selling stock options. (See http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/invsub/insider/trans.asp?view=All&Symbol=ibm).

    Many media outlets are reporting the profit surge. We need to get the message out that employees demand pay raises. Please go online to your local or national media and use the online comments area in the IBM profit article and make your views known. You can start here.

    At a time where employees and retirees are facing declining standards of living due to the high cost of everything it is time to demand that IBM share the wealth with those who built and continue to work at IBM.

    If you are not yet a dues paying member of the Alliance please join and help support the organizing campaign at IBM.

  • The Register (United Kingdom): IBM misses memo on economic slowdown during Q2. By Austin Modine. Excerpt: IBM has yet again shrugged off the global economic slowdown with second quarter profits leaping 22 per cent and revenues rising. Although improvements were reported across most operations, IBM's bread-and-butter services division was the star of the show. "I've got to say that this is one of the best quarters I've ever seen," said CFO Mark Loughridge, during the companies quarterly investor conference call.
  • The following are selected comments posted by The Register readers in response to the above article:
    • Only an American could call a cut back in the pension plans of the workers that put the company on top a cheery plan.
    • disgraceful ...funny, just yesterday, my IBM manager explained how conditions were tough and there's no money for payrises. awful greedy bastards probably why it's leaking talent at a rate of knots.
    • IBM have not gave out any payrises. I work at IBM, (AC) of course. I have been told despite a PBC 2+ and increasing my billable by way over 50% of the required amount (And I don't get O/T) that the market is tough and we wont get a payrise across the board, and this IS the services touted on the BBC and elsewhere. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7513208.stm I got nothing. I make them this money I'm leaving, see how they cope with zero talent, high performance culture my ar&e!
    • How do they get away with it? They charge the customers more each year for their staff but rarely pass that increase on. I'm also leaving.
    • IBMer too, Sorry to hear about your IBM pay woes. I too got a PBC 2+ and got a great payrise. And I too am one of the ones that actually does the work to make the product (i.e. not in sales). That said, according to my recent pension plan statement, my money is now worth less than when I put it in. So really looking forward to my retirement in 30 odd years time.
    • Lots of unhappy IBMers. So according to our esteemed leaders and backed up by results we (IBM) did pretty well last year and things are looking good this year. But, as some of my colleagues have pointed out many (most?) have got a 0% pay increase despite being told that we (individually) achieved at a higher than expected level (yes I got a 2+ as well). It would be nice to work for a company that rewarded its employees based on results. There was a time I thought IBM did that, but if it was ever true it isn't now. Apologies to non-IBMers out there reading all this moaning. Having complained internally and got nowhere I'm hoping that one or two senior managers may start to question their policies if they see a few complaints in public.
    • IBM is an embarrassment. What an outrage! IBM is letting its people down once again. In the past few days, employees in IBM UK are being told they are not getting pay raises because of the current climate and the credit crunch. In some cases whole business units are being told they are not getting raises, in others the coverage is as little as 30%. The public face of IBM is a company doing well. Looking inwardly there is low moral, little motivation and an army of staff being pushed to their limits in terms of what they will give to this company without getting anything back.
    • Where have the IBM profits gone? By A Wyllie. Like many of the people posting comments about IBM, I too am a 2+ performer and getting 0% increase because we failed to meet our targets. Reading the news headlines today from the BBC and elsewhere just adds insult to injury. To cap it all, our great leader Sam Palmisano also sent an internal broadcast email to everyone this morning telling us what a wonderful 1st and 2nd quarter we had had. So who is telling porkies ? Where have the profits gone ? Well here are some thoughts ...

      Could it be that IBM is using > $2b in a share buy-back. Not surprisingly this boosts the share price, and guess who benefits from that. Well the very same execs who are ordering the buy-back are choosing to exercise their share options and are selling them at market price ! A nice little earner if you can get it. Furthermore, the same execs also get a nice bonus due to the rising share price. Disgusting isn't it ... smells of Enron too.

      Another chunk of the profits is being used to boost share dividends (earnings per share), and what do you know, it's the same execs with their nose in the trough once again. First the wait for the quarterly dividend payment before selling up those share options, and would you believe the get another bonus for the increased earnings per share.

      I have never known morale in IBM to be so bad, but it is what we have come to expect from this money grabbing business who exploit their employees and give nothing back in return. But then again, it is a cheap way to increase the attrition rates in the drive to move work from Europe and the US into low wage economies. It's just like the tea and coffee plantation exploitation all over again.

    • Noticed around the world. Yes the internal trading is going mad now: Ask yourself, if IBm are doing so well why is nobody buying. F*ck this I'm off home, stick your billable utilisation up your A%se :) I am a PBC2+ and next year I could be a 3. And what would I expect, same as I got this year. http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/invsub/insider/trans.asp?view=All&Symbol=ibm If your thinking of a services contract with IBM, then beware! No workers left, just salesmen. No UK base either. Just another TATA, only more expensive but just as crap :)
    • 2+ on a PBC? YOU SLACKER! By Ian Michael Gumby. Unless they changed the PBC ratings, in my day, you needed a 1 to get any sort of raise. A 2 meant that you were doing a good job and a 3 meant you had a job for now, but you need to improve your performance. Yes IBM works the carp out of you and expects you to be grateful. Do your time and move on to a better company.
    • Tale of Two IBMs. In some ways I was surprised to see a lot of ppl with 2+ marks in their performance review getting no pay rise (For non-IBMers it goes 1,2+,2,3 then 4 , Don't ask why!) Then I realised they are in the services division. I and the other person quoted above who got a 2+ and a pay rise are in Software Group. Its obvious that IBMs strategy has been to acquire and make money from software since services has become so commoditised and there is little profit. Hence the investment in that division and hence why I would recommend anyone joining IBM join SWG!

      Ironic that the latest results have been driven by services doing so well - I personally see it as a mistake to neglect services since services drive hardware and software sales so by pissin off all the services ppl we will end up losing the SW and HW sales in the long run.

      People bitching that it shows the services managers are all tightwads miss the glacial nature of IBM - it takes months for the business to decide on pay levels so these will have been set when the economy was all doom and gloom and IBMs strategy is to invest in the software business so surprise surprise no money for services.

    • 2+ on a PBC? YOU SLACKER! By Grrr. Things have moved on since your day, downhill mostly ! PBC 1's are now even rarer than hen's teeth. Why ? Well they moved the bell-curve of course and dictated that there were too many PBC 1's and 2+'s. So don't kid yourself that a PBC rating is anything to do with your performance, cos they have already decided on the numbers in each band before they even look at performance.
    • this years targets affected our pay By janetaylor. sorry but I disagree with the 'tale of 2 IBMs' comment above. My manager told me that unit's salary budget, which was low anyway, had been reduced further as a direct result of our failure to meet targets THIS YEAR. Targets are being set unachievably high, so that they can never be met by business units (hence no pay raises) but profits are still headline high
    • Re: Ian Michael Gumby. They have changed the PBC ratings. There are now 5 grades rather than 3. The top 5% get a grade 1 and get a pay rise well below inflation provided that 1) they are below the median actual pay range for their band (not below the median of the pay scale, but below the median of what is actually paid), 2) they have premium skills, 3) their business unit is doing well, and 4) the attrition rate in their unit is too high. Someone on a 2+ (again about 5%) might get a pay rise of some sort if they are lucky and meet the criteria above. No-one else gets a pay rise unless they are senior management, who get a trough.
    • Ah the old stories, the old excuses - there's nothing like them! By Ex IBM Global Services. Sorry to say that this all sounds depressingly familiar - which is why I handed in the battery operated blue suit last year. Guess what - there is life & pay outside IBM. I hope all you IBMers remember to fill in CLAIM on time today - you wouldn't want the CLAIM police hounding you with yet another reason why your endeavours do not merit a pay rise.
    • Re: Ian Michael Gumby By Grrr. There are other discussion forums like this on the web where even PBC 1 performers are reporting zero salary increase ! Try some Google searches.
    • Union anyone? By Claude Warren. There is a union movement inside IBM in the states (http://www.allianceibm.org/localcontacts.htm) not that they get enough support to change anything, but it could be a start. In the meantime, here in the states, everything is being done by global resources (GR = offshore). Soon, if you work for IBM in the states, and are not working in corp headquarters, you will be a traveling salesperson that sells products and services that will be delivered by offshore groups. Happy days ahead. Me? I'm looking for work in Ireland -- I gotta get out of the states as well as IBM
    • Re: Ian Michael Gumby. Ian, do you really think that all these IBMers posting are dead wood who are merely bitter and making excuses for their poor performance? Trust me, the dead wood was culled years ago. Some, if not most of us stay not because of momentum or inadequacy, but because we believe in what IBM was, what it should be, and (hopefully) will be again, if we have any say in it. The Fat Bastard Sam will be gone some day...
    • Lots of comments from employees, See http://www.ibmemployee.com
    • Mr Impersonal. I got it too by bulk e-mail no less. Dear Colleague, This email is coming from me (as your 2nd Line Manager) because of the recent organisational changes in AS Delivery and the many resulting changes in manager:professional alignments.

      So far in 2008, we are not achieving our full potential and have missed our signings, revenue, profit and utilisation targets. Whilst we have improved year on year, we have fallen behind what is required to achieve our full year targets and as such (in common with many other lines of business within the UK) the budget available for salary increases in 2008 is much reduced.

      I therefore regret to inform you that you have not been selected to receive a salary increase this year.

      I am aware that with a PBC 2+ rating for 2007, this will be a major disappointment to you. However due to the limited salary budget available this year, it has just not been possible to include everybody with a 2+ rating in this year's coverage.

      I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued commitment to AS Delivery. Please talk to your "NEW" Manager if you have any concerns. As we are now in the mid year review cycle this may be the most appropriate time for the discussion.

    • Play it again Sam. I received the same email as above. 2+ on PBC, exceeded utilisation, won awards at the account I'm on - but not even a below inflation increase. zilch! I worked out that the extra (unpaid) billable overtime I put in last year netted an extra £25k of revenue for IBM - I feel embarrassed. I've nearly 10 years service and this has proved to me that its time to move on. I've already started sending out my CV, there is nothing to keep anyone at IBM anymore. The sad truth is that this is all by design - IBM want to lose headcount (and continue to offshore everything), but won't pay any severance. Its a war of attrition, I hope I've won !!
  • CNN/Money: WSJ: IBM To Invest $1 Billion Over Next 3 Yrs In Its NY Chip Plant. Excerpt: International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) said it will invest $1 billion in its East Fishkill, N.Y., semiconductor plant over the next three years, reducing concerns that it might exit the chip-making business. The announcement came as part of a disclosure that IBM, which is based in Armonk, N.Y., also will spend some $500 million on research and development and capital equipment for the University of Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, where it funds research.

    The state of New York said it will spend $90 million on economic-development grants associated with the semiconductor plant and the college. It also will spend $50 million to build a new semiconductor-packaging center that IBM will operate along with the college and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, of Troy, N.Y. The location of the center hasn't been determined.

  • Albany Times-Union: A sweet IBM deal. $1.6B expansion could create new jobs upstate. By James M. Odato. Excerpts: IBM, with the help of state taxpayers, will pour more than $1.6 billion into expanding the company's chip manufacturing and research operations. The effort is expected to create at least 325 new jobs at the University at Albany's nanotechnology center and another 675 at a separate facility upstate, Paterson administration officials said Monday. IBM will invest $1.5 billion and the state will provide $140 million in what one state official, who declined to be named, said was the biggest return on investment ever for a New York economic development incentive package. ...

    The investment and job creation would begin by 2009 and be completed by 2011. It comes with a pledge from IBM that it will not cut jobs in New York this year. It announced hundreds of layoffs in Vermont and Canada in recent months.

  • Poughkeepsie Journal: Big Blue stakes billion on region. State will add millions in deal. By Sarah Bradshaw. Excerpts: The deal will help IBM retain roughly 1,400 jobs in the semiconductor field at the East Fishkill plant as well as a pledge to have no more layoffs in 2008, an important move to calm fears IBM would eventually cut jobs there. John Kelly, IBM senior vice president and director of research, said the agreement will ensure semiconductor jobs will remain in East Fishkill. The deal will also create synergy and new opportunities between IBM's East Fishkill and Poughkeepsie plants, Kelly said.

    Together the facilities employ more than 11,000 people, but IBM officials stopped short of pledging other jobs outside of the semiconductor industry will be spared future job cuts after the end of this year. ...

    One IBM retiree wasn't as upbeat about the state's involvement. Poughkeepsie resident Benoit Ventimiglia feels IBM should add 1,400 jobs to its East Fishkill operation before getting New York state funds. The 84-year-old retired from IBM in 1992 after working as a senior engineer in Poughkeepsie. In 1996, he worked as a sub-contractor for IBM in East Fishkill until getting laid off in 2001. This May, to help make ends meet, he sought a one-year work contract with IBM, but it was canceled. "All of a sudden, they said they froze all hiring," Ventimiglia said. "I'd like to see the job market growing. Otherwise there is no benefit to the people," he added.

    Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the Alliance@IBM, a local of the Communications Workers of America, expressed concern about the lack of specific details announced Tuesday. "We need to have full disclosure from IBM and New York state about just how many jobs and what kinds of jobs those are," he said. "If they are going to talk about employment, they need to be clear about what the definition is. Many times we see these jobs filled with temporary workers, and that's just not right." Conrad also stressed any no-layoff deals should be in place for all of IBM's New York locations because state money is involved.

  • Raleigh News & Observer blog: Where workers are 'resources': IBM and the American dream. Full excerpt: Last week, IBM laid off about 30 people in Research Triangle Park as a cost-cutting measure. IBM doesn't like to use the word "layoff," as it will personalize the victims; it uses the term "resource action." If you were to read the IBM dictionary, you would see that the company does not have any employees or people, only "resources." Everyone and everything is a resource. Well, the resources that have been eliminated from IBM's payroll translate into people and families that do not have monthly paychecks anymore.

    The last time IBMers got a memo from their leader about the state of the company was in early spring, when CEO Sam Palmisano was raving about corporate profits and the stock price increase. In fact, he did his job so well that he received $20.9 million in compensation, an 11 percent increase. In contrast, most resources did not receive a pay raise this year, and the lucky resources that did cannot say that the raise is outpacing inflation.

    The math is very clear to me: Rob people of their livelihoods so that the fat cat can get even fatter. The corporate greed of the 21st century and the return of the robber barons is nothing new. IBM is not the only multinational corporation that has total disregard for the people it hires and fires. The bigger question is: Why are people doing nothing about it?

    How low will the American middle class go before it starts demanding a New Deal from the government to protect it from modern-day robber barons? In France, for example, a corporation needs to show at least three consecutive quarters of losses before it can lay off a single person. It makes sense to me. How about this one from Japan: salary caps!

    Unfortunately, a lot of people in the U.S. still believe in the American dream. They still hope that one day they will strike it rich and make millions of dollars. Statistically speaking, that will never happen to Joe Average. As long as Joe Average does not realize this, the fat cats will continue to use the American dream as a carrot on a stick to prevent the people from uniting and demanding a change. Dragana Djuricic Mendel. Wake Forest.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: IBM Layoffs" by "ibmaccountant". Full excerpt: You've hit the code. It's everyone for him or herself, and take what you can and don't think of loyalty. You are right on the pension, the only thing you have going for you is the enhanced 401(k) which ain't much nowadays.

    Think like a mercenary, think like a slave about ready to leave the plantation for better things and you'll be OK.

    In the Americas, the future is in small, quick firms that are close to the customer, not the big multinationals. You've been servicing a declining market. Here's some ideas:

    1. Take every announcement from IBM management and parse it cynically and you'll find the truth. For example, the "Spirit" program was a facade to keep the brand blinded sheep under control for just a little while until LEAN was well underway.
    2. If you can't go to classroom education, try to the the on-line thing and order books, two or three at a time, that you might find of value or that might teach you something post-IBM.
    3. Order as much office supplies as you can, keep building an inventory for when you are shot.
    4. Don't complain, act compliant but act smart and NEVER do anything that doesn't give you something in return. If you have to do it, take your time. People aren't getting penalized for not getting things done quickly as long as the slave acts like they are trying. Think what a slave would do to survive until the escape plan is ready.
    5. For IBM management, professionalism is just a word. Ally yourself with business partners. Get close, become their advisors and when IBM for a few more fistful of dollars and wants to screw them advise them and steer them to safety. They won't forget you when you are canned. Same thing for software vendors and competitors. Be a partner to them and don't be a pawn to IBM.
    6. As you slow down and make plans to leave, don't leave. Let them can you. Get paid to get kicked out the door.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: IBM Layoffs" by "thekanck". Full excerpt: You're almost there... I tend to think that the way IBM REALLY wants it (and to some extent still gets it) is for employees to REMAIN "loyal" to IBM and put in lots of free overtime, forgo vacation, and maintain "can-do" attitudes while experiencing a lack of career advancement & educational opportunities, pay reductions, pension plan reductions, medical plan reductions, longer forced commutes, etc. etc. etc.

    While AT THE SAME TIME IBM displays NO loyalty to employees and has complete freedom of action to lay off these loyal employees at a moment's notice (after they have trained their replacements that is), reduce their salary or whatever is required to get the current quarter's stock options vested to the executives. OK that's my cynical post for this week.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Retirees Face Prospect of Outliving Savings" by "richellen". Full excerpt: A job at the State has worked out well for us.. 5 years employment and a minimum age (62 I think) allowed my wife to retire and put me under the state's medical plans. There are no monthly fees and the co-pays are small.. The dental plan is about $40 for both of us but is much better than IBM's. I'm on Medicare and all the plans have drug coverage.. I just dropped the IBM medical...seemed pain free...unless a snafu surfaces.. Dick
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: IBM Layoffs" by "Bob". Full excerpt: Congratulations on making it this far and also being in a position to have good outside contacts. Too many people who worked at IBM did not have that same opportunity or advantage of outside contact. If you worked in an IBM manufacturing plant or in a small "IBM town" (e.g., Endicott is a prime example - middle of nowhere in NY state), you are suddenly restricted in your options. If you are in a "small town" area, job options are typically nil. Selling your house in a market where every other ex-IBMer is trying to sell their house means abandoning what you own (or skipping out on the bank) and losing any equity. Also, once you are over 50, try finding someone willing to hire an "old fart". There are a lot of other factors involved. Now someone living in or near a large metropolitan area or who has spent a lot of time with IBM customers obviously has a better chance of landing on their feet. For the rest, "Welcome to Wal-Mart" or "Would you like fries with that?"

    Personally, I was also fortunate to be in a high-tech area when I took "early retirement" (after just being transferred because my "skills were in demand" at that site). I was able to temp/contract until my age worked against me (in spite of all my marketable skills and keeping abreast of current technology with college classes). But that is another story. I was also fortunate that while I was tempting, I was able to earn more than what I made at IBM, allowing me to set aside my retirement checks. However, not everyone was/is that fortunate. I will say one thing, if I had a crystal ball, I would never have busted my backside in all those IBM years working all those long hours, week after week.

    One last comment - re being a harsh world and companies no longer being loyal to "loyal employees", I posted in the IBM Think Group about Tom Watson Sr. not laying off people during the depression and while I was working, we had a couple of depressions and no one was laid off. Today, IBM management would just as soon lay off more people and tell Wall Street look how while they cut costs and then give themselves a hefty pay increase. Please no posts on how the BOD decides on their compensation when they are lackeys hand-picked by top management. And, yes, I realize this is true of most corporations.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: IBM Layoffs" by "rsd1955". Full excerpt: I lost my job in February after 28 years with IBM. Since I was only 52, I couldn't retire and I lost my retirement medical and about 20-25% of my pension. I only needed to get to the end of the year and I could have taken a 1 year bridge, but management did absolutely nothing to help me. My job was eliminated 6 times from September 2003 to October 2007 all so IBM could employ cheaper labor in India. I lost all respect for the corporation and it's management. I am actually working for IBM now as a contractor doing a job that I applied for last October but I was not given an interview for because I had a "3" appraisal on my record (when my job was eliminated). They could have spared me a lot of misery of they had just hired me for this job and allowed me to put in my 10 months, but IBM does not operate that way anymore. The company sucks just like every other big company in America.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: IBM Layoffs" by "Adrian Rice". Full excerpt: This post breaks my heart and makes me mad. The same thing almost happened to me when I was "resource actioned". I was offered a job within IBM, but the offer had to be rescinded when the new group's exec found out I had a "3". Because you are now doing as a contractor the same job you applied for as an IBM employee, I believe you have a case for age discrimination. You should see a lawyer -- try to at least get classified back as an IBM employee for the whole time you have been doing this job. Maybe you can get enough service credit to qualify for full retirement.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: IBM Layoffs" by "rsd1955". Full excerpt: I spoke with 3 lawyers and all wanted to be paid about $ 300 per hour plus expenses...that could run up quite a bill in no time with no guarantee of any payoff down the line. I forgot to mention that IBM only gave me 3 months of severance pay, the minimum, rather than the 6 months severance I would have received if I was part of a resource action (which they could have given me anyway, it was my manager's choice to give me the minimum). I don't have a lot of savings, having just finished 19 years of child support, so I decided not to employ a lawyer and just to focus on getting on with my career & life.
  • Yankton Press & Dakotan: USD To Increase Tribes’ Participation In Computing. Excerpt: A unique partnership of The University of South Dakota, Sinte Gleska University and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) will increase the number of South Dakota American Indians participating information technology-based curriculums and careers. Thanks to a $511,336 grant from the National Science Foundation, Getting American Indians to Information Technology (GAIn-IT) is the focus of a three-year initiative by The University of South Dakota to increase American Indian knowledge and involvement through a dynamic academic program packed with computing opportunities – from pre-college to faculty development. South Dakota has the third highest percentage of American Indian population in the United States. However, several real barriers prevent American Indian students from pursuing computer science courses in college or occupations in the computing industry, primarily the lack of resources at home or in schools.
  • USA Today: Printer dots raise privacy concerns. By Thomas Frank, Excerpt: The affordability and growing popularity of color laser printers is raising concerns among civil liberties advocates that your privacy may not be worth the paper you're printing on. More manufacturers are outfitting greater numbers of laser printers with technology that leaves microscopic yellow dots on each printed page to identify the printer's serial number — and ultimately, you, says the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the leading watchdogs of electronic privacy.
  • New York Times: GM makes historic cuts in struggle to survive. Excerpt: GM won't say how many white-collar cuts will be made, but Henderson said much of the cost reduction would come from cutting retiree health care benefits. Those over 65 would get a $300 monthly pension increase to make up for the cut.
  • Michigan Business Review: GM retiree health cuts will cause sticker shock, health execs say. By Gary Gosselin. Excerpts: General Motors Corp. retirees are likely in for sticker shock after the company announced it is cutting health benefits for retirees older than 65. There are about 97,000 salaried retirees and at least half will be affected by the change. The cuts were announced as part of a $15 billion cost reduction plan for GM. "There's going to be some shock when it comes to premiums and extra costs for what the options are," said Sue Mathiesen, director of research for McGraw Wentworth, a Troy-based benefits consulting firm. ...

    "Any time we see a cutback like this, we see this shift and more people are underinsured, and we're seeing more doctors not accepting Medicare because it doesn't pay as well," Genord said, noting many just pocket the extra money or pay bills. "Some of these patients won't get preventive care and will show up in emergency rooms more," Genord said. "So we see our older population not getting the care they should."

  • CNN/Money: GM's Health-Benefit Cut Could Signal Broader Industry Change. Excerpts: General Motors Corp.'s plan to cut health benefits for certain salaried retirees may make only a small dent in profits at Medco Health Solutions Inc., GM's pharmacy benefits manager, but it could signal broader, more significant changes to come for the health-benefits industry.

    "GM's decision to cut retiree benefits is likely to have only small impact on (Medco's) 2009 earnings. Even so, we see the move as a watershed event for the retiree benefits marketplace that is likely to lead other employers to do the same, which will, in turn, cause the issue to grow as an overhang for the stock, " Morgan Stanley analyst David Veal said. ...

    While there hasn't been a dramatic change in recent years, the percentage of large employers offering retiree health benefits has declined substantially in the last two decades, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Among large companies that offer health benefits to active employees, 33% offered retiree health benefits in 2007, compared with 66% in 1988, the foundation said.

  • Yahoo! IBM employee issues message board: "Re: GM retiree health cuts will cause sticker shock" by "flatsflyer". Full excerpt: The difference is that GM has been putting this information out to the public for the last several years. IBM on the other hand has only been complaining to it's employees and retirees about how tough business is. The IBM image to public is great, record income, record sales, record profits. The difference between the internal and external reporting and actions is the reason I will not buy any IBM Product or Service. We have not recommended any IBM Product or Service in our consulting practice since 2001.
  • Huffington Post: Wall Street Socialism. By Robert L. Borosage. Excerpts: This weekend, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former head of the Goldman Sachs investment house, provided us with a perfect demonstration of Wall Street socialism. He announced that the Bush administration would seek congressional approval to bail out Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, the government created, but privately owned, profit-making housing finance companies that hold or guarantee nearly half of the US mortgage market -- some $5 trillion in debt. Paulson seeks and will get an unlimited line of credit to guarantee their debt, as well as authority to purchase their shares to supplement their capital base. The Federal Reserve announced it was ready to provide lending while waiting for Congress to act. Paulson said the new subsidies were designed to sustain the two institutions in "their current form." ...

    So now the Bush administration proposes to make the federal guarantee explicit and even to offer taxpayer money to help recapitalize the two banks if needed. Everything has been nationalized -- except the profits and the pay scales of the bank's executives. That's right. If the guarantees work, private speculators, having driven the stock down, will clean up on the upside. And the bank's CEO's will continue to pocket the multi-million dollar salaries that are de rigueur on Wall Street. Call it Wall Street socialism. Their losses are socialized; their profits are pocketed. You and I will pay for their failures. And if conservatives have their way, their families will pocket their successes, without even having to pay a tax for the transfer of the estates we've helped to create. ...

    Why pay dividends to shareholders when they are essentially playing with our money? Why pay managers of public enterprises the bloated pay packages of Wall Street speculators? Why allow them to finance lobbyists to shield them from accountability? The fiction of their separate existence has been exploded; let's save the dough and run them efficiently. ...

    Republicans seem ideologically committed to these kinds of arrangements. In Medicare for example, conservatives have demanded that the government subsidize private insurance companies to compete with public Medicare, even though Medicare provides healthcare much less expensively. When Bush and the DeLay Congress drove through the prescription drug bill, they included a provision that PROHIBITS Medicare from negotiating cheaper prices for drugs, effectively turning the bill from a benefit to Seniors to a multi-billion subsidy to private drug companies (not surprisingly, after Wall Street, the drug companies finance one of the most lavish and powerful lobbies in Washington).

    Now it makes sense to me for the government to subsidize housing mortgages and college loans. Encouraging home ownership and higher education are central to sustaining the broad middle class that is America's triumph. But I can't imagine why we need to let bankers and investors pocket the upside, when they are playing with our money and we're covering their losses. Public enterprise may be staid and bureaucratic, but it's a lot cheaper and more efficient than the perils of Wall Street socialism.

  • The Register: Barclays to scrap 1,800 UK tech jobs. By Kelly Fiveash. Excerpt: Barclays is to axe 1,800 IT jobs in the UK as part of a major business overhaul to set up technology centres in key offshore locations around the world, with 700 workers being forced out by September. The bank first told staff about its outsourcing plans in January this year. In a canned statement Barclays said it hoped to “become one of a handful of universal banks leading the global financial services industry, helping our customers and clients throughout the world to achieve their goals.
  • Wall Street Journal: Retiree Benefits Take Another Hit. GM's Plan to End Medical Coverage For Many 65 and Over Signals a New Era; Pensions to Increase by $300 a Month. By Vanessa Fuhrmans and Theo Francis. Excerpts: General Motors Corp.'s move to eliminate retiree health benefits for salaried workers is a sobering signal to the rest of the U.S. work force: Even those who are in or near retirement shouldn't count on keeping the company coverage they have built up. Since the early 1990s, employers eager to get out from under the increasing burden of covering their retirees' health care have been whittling away at those benefits. At some companies, new or younger workers have been excluded from retiree health benefits. Older workers and existing retirees often got to keep the benefits, but had to pay a larger share of the overall costs.

    But GM's announcement Tuesday that it would cease medical coverage for its salaried retirees age 65 and above signals that a new era of ever-shrinking benefits has arrived. Beginning in January, even former employees who are already in retirement will lose their benefits, which most of the company's retirees use to supplement gaps in their traditional Medicare coverage. The auto maker will boost monthly pension payouts to help offset the cuts. The company's unionized workers aren't affected by the cut to retiree health benefits. ...

    Retirement-benefit experts have for some time been recommending that all workers -- even those close to retiring and who've "earned" full retiree benefits -- should assume that those benefits will likely be eliminated, either before or during their retirement, and start planning and saving for it. ...

    Unlike just about every other kind of compensation, such as salary or pensions, retiree health benefits can be taken away even after workers have built them up. Indeed, unless a union contract prevents it, companies typically have a free hand to reduce or eliminate retiree health benefits for both active employees and retirees. "Employers can pull the rug out from under their older workers and their retirees at any point -- there's no guarantee these benefits will continue," says Richard Johnson, a retirement researcher at the Urban Institute.

  • New York Times opinion: No Friend of the Workers. Excerpts: It should surprise no one, at this point, that an arm of the Bush administration charged with protecting Americans’ rights or safety is not doing its job. Even so, a government report and a Congressional hearing this week painted a disturbing picture of a Labor Department that simply is not standing up for workers.

    President Bush has filled top posts across his administration with people who do not agree with the missions of their organizations. His Environmental Protection Agency has failed to protect the environment; his Justice Department has promoted injustice.

    To lead the Department of Labor, Mr. Bush appointed Elaine Chao, who took office in 2001 arguing that states should be able to opt out of the federal minimum wage — a terrible idea that would drive down wages for the lowest-paid employees. For more than seven years, Ms. Chao has run a department that has tilted toward employers and failed to properly enforce labor laws.

    In a report released this week, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office took a close look at a sampling of cases handled — or, rather, mishandled — by the Wage and Hour Division of the Labor Department. It found that the division failed to adequately investigate complaints that workers were not paid the minimum wage, were denied mandatory overtime or were not paid their last paychecks.

News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
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  • New York Times editorial: Medicare’s Bias. Excerpts: The intense struggle in Congress last week over a relatively modest Medicare reform bill has underscored a disturbing truth: many of the private plans that participate in the huge government-sponsored health insurance program for older Americans have become a far too costly drain on Medicare’s overstretched budget.

    Private health plans were promoted in the 1980s and 1990s in the belief that they could reduce costs and improve care through better management. And for a while they did. But policy changes that were championed by the Bush administration and a Republican-controlled Congress led to exactly the opposite outcome.

    These private plans — that now cover a fifth of the total Medicare population — receive large subsidies to deliver services that traditional Medicare provides more cheaply and more efficiently by paying hospitals and doctors directly. Congress was right — for reasons of equity and of fiscal sanity — to pass a bill that would at least begin to remove some of the subsidies. ...

    That set the stage for the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, which dumped hefty new subsidies on private plans to encourage them to rejoin. Medicare now pays the private plans, on average, 13 percent more than the same services would cost through traditional Medicare. The subsidies have fueled explosive growth in the least-efficient plans, fee-for-service plans, which do little or nothing to justify their 17 percent overpayment.

    This is outrageous. Instead of paying private plans less than traditional Medicare, in the belief that they could find innovative ways to cut costs and improve care, we are now paying them significantly more. The only explanation is Republicans’ ideological compulsion to provide a private option.

  • MarketWatch, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: Americans down on the U.S. health-care system. Dutch rate theirs most favorably of 10 industrialized nations. Excerpts: International comparisons of health-care systems can be tricky to tease out, but the Dutch appear most satisfied with their system and Americans the least satisfied, according to a new survey of 10 industrialized countries. The Dutch system was most popular with its citizens while adults in the U.S. were itching for national reform the most, according to Harris Interactive, which cited three separate data sets.

    A third of Americans said they believe the U.S. system “has so much wrong with it that we need to completely rebuild it,” while only 9% in the Netherlands hold such a sentiment about their health-care system. Twelve percent of Spaniards favored a complete overhaul, compared with 15% in France, 17% in New Zealand, 18% in Australia and 20% in Italy. ...

    “What Americans are upset about is the unbelievable hassle of having to select health insurance, maybe not getting it … losing insurance when they lose their job,” Reinhardt said. “The American citizen is massively insecure.” Doctors and nurses routinely hear demoralizing news that U.S. medicine is inferior “when the real problem is the way we finance health care and the hassle of claiming insurance,” he said. ...

    What’s more, Americans’ personal share of medical expenses is the highest in the industrialized world, Davis said. In 2007, 30% of Americans reported having out-of-pocket medical expenses of more than $1,000 in the last year compared with 19% of Australians, 12% of Canadians, 10% of Germans and New Zealanders, 5% of Dutch and 4% of Britons.

  • CCH Benefits: Effect Of Much-Touted Health Care Price Transparency Might Be “Ambiguous:” CBO. Excerpts: The effect of price transparency on spending for health care services and pharmaceuticals is, at best, ambiguous, and, depending on the local market conditions, could raise costs instead of reduce costs, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded in its June 5 CBO Economic and Budget Issue Brief. In this growing environment of health care consumerism, many experts believe that making prices of certain health care services available to patients would encourage more cost-effective purchasing. However, the CBO points out, prices for medical services vary widely across providers in a local health care market depending on varied negotiated contracts and who is paying the bills—individuals, governments, or insurers.

    Consequently, it is difficult to determine the actual price for a service, although a government agency could report average prices, the CBO brief suggested. The CBO brief focused on charges for hospital care, physician services, and prescription drugs, which represented some two-thirds of national health care spending in 2006.

  • New York Times: While the U.S. Spends Heavily on Health Care, a Study Faults the Quality. By Reed Abelson. Excerpts: American medical care may be the most expensive in the world, but that does not mean it is worth every penny. A study to be released Thursday highlights the stark contrast between what the United States spends on its health system and the quality of care it delivers, especially when compared with many other industrialized nations.

    The report, the second national scorecard from this influential health policy research group, shows that the United States spends more than twice as much on each person for health care as most other industrialized countries. But it has fallen to last place among those countries in preventing deaths through use of timely and effective medical care, according to the report by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research group in New York. ...

    Karen Ignagni, the chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group, argues that much of the higher administrative costs stem from the additional services provided by United States insurers, like disease management programs, and the burdensome regulatory and compliance costs of doing business in 50 states. A more uniform system could result in savings, she said.

  • The Commonwealth Fund: Why Not the Best? Results from the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2008. Excerpts: Prepared for the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2008, updates the 2006 Scorecard, the first comprehensive means of measuring and monitoring health care outcomes, quality, access, efficiency, and equity in the United States. The 2008 Scorecard, which presents trends for each dimension of health system performance and for individual indicators, confirms that the U.S. health system continues to fall far short of what is attainable, especially given the resources invested. Across 37 core indicators of performance, the U.S. achieves an overall score of 65 out of a possible 100 when comparing national averages with U.S. and international performance benchmarks. Overall, performance did not improve from 2006 to 2008. Access to health care significantly declined, while health system efficiency remained low. Quality metrics that have been the focus of national campaigns or public reporting efforts did show gains. ...

    The U.S. spends twice per capita what other major industrialized countries spend on health care, and costs continue to rise faster than income. We are headed toward $1 of every $5 of national income going toward health care. We should expect a better return on this investment. Performance on measures of health system efficiency remains especially low, with the U.S. scoring 53 out of 100 on measures gauging inappropriate, wasteful, or fragmented care; avoidable hospitalizations; variation in quality and costs; administrative costs; and use of information technology. Lowering insurance administrative costs alone could save up to $100 billion a year at the lowest country rates.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
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  • Is IBM offshoring the IBM Payroll Help Desk to Manila, Philippines? If you have documentation please send to: Allianceibmunion@gmail.com
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comment 07/12/08: To -WLP_IBMer- Usually when a manager specifically states "I can't tell you if it will happen in 60 days", they are trying to let you know that it is going to occur. You can assume that means it will happen in 60 days. The 2008 projections for IGS were to offshore 80 - 85% of the work. Since we are 1/2 way thru the year. A 60 day timeframe sounds accurate. -tai mai shue-
    • Comment 07/13/08: There are 22 employees being RAed from the GTS Internet Security Systems group. Mostly sales and marketing, with a few SW engineers thrown in for good measure. Also, just a corroborating case here, multiple people here at ISS heard the same thing in the orientation ISS employees had after we were bought; that our ISS time would carry over, and as it turned out, that was a lie. People here are hating their jobs right now, and people are running for the door like their lives depended on it. -GoISS-
    • Comment 07/14/08: For all those discussing WellPoint, you also need to realize that WellPoint’s primary concern (just like IBM’s) is to make money for the execs and the shareholders. Anyone who originally worked for Anthem has no doubt heard many times that “Anthem is an insurance company, not a technology company”. These days they are interested in everything as cheap as possible, especially IT. They have directly off-shored app development and some of their own call centers (providers now deal with folks in the Philippines). They are on-board with off-shoring support on their account if it saves them a few bucks.

      Any complaining about quality of work is just a dog and pony show for their business areas. For WellPoint to ever complain of off-shored resources, language barriers, etc, just will illustrate how hypocritical they are. In the end, they will get what they pay for. Honestly, I don’t believe anyone wants to be the 10-15% left behind as I’m sure your job will become to clean up and cover up the work being done off-shore. Things like on-call should be interesting. Anyone who does on-call and works with the WellPoint NOC knows how unbelievable they are.

      I can only imagine when the primary on-call person is off-shore and they either start calling the secondary (or anyone else they want) because they’d rather deal with someone who they can understand. Bottom line is whenever someone at WellPoint is unhappy with the service they get from IBM, they should thank their own management for signing this deal… Oh yeah, out of the three of them, two got canned and the CEO retired. How convenient. -Never surprised anymore-

    • Comment 07/14/08: FYI, Vacation is paid to you at departure from IBM, if you are a California employee you will also be paid for all unused personal choice holidays for the current year. These will be paid at the same rate as vacation days. This is per California Law. -Anonymous- Alliance reply: Please cite or reference the statute that requires this.
    • Comment 07/14/08: To anonymous - I'm not sure sure California law requires an employer to pay for unused holiday time. Earned Vacation time yes, holiday time - no. -miss understanding-
    • Comment 07/15/08: To -RA just around the corner- I received 1 week for every 6 months with big blew. Should we receive 2 weeks for every 6 months? -RA May-
    • Comment 07/15/08: Thanks for the response RA May. I heard that it was 2 weeks for each year of service which is the same as 1 week for every 6 months. Still very sorry to hear about this. :-( Did your health benefits get extended for 3 months as part of the package? I read that they were doing this last year. I'm looking into cheaper alternatives to Cobra. Thanks again! -RA soon-
    • Comment 07/15/08: To -GoISS- I can vouch for us all being told that our time at ISS would be carried over to IBM. The thing I remember most, though, is how wonderful the acquisition was going to be for ISS, because we would now have the "vast resources of IBM" at our disposal. And they were going to be adding a lot of new people. The thing they didn't mention was that these people were going to all be in IBM India. I know a lot of people are actively transferring their knowledge to the folks in India, and with the recent layoffs and reorgs the handwriting is on the wall -- I know a lot of people are looking. At least the acquisition was profitable for Tom and Chris. Good luck to the rest of you! -X-ISS'r-
    • Comment 07/15/08: Finite: There were some layoffs in Fishkill/Poughkeepsie area in June, just a few, but not as much by a long shot suffered in Essex Junction/Williston (VT). One layoff is too much at any IBM site. Let's not rely on state government agreements and corporate welfare grant funds to make an attempt to save our jobs: let's get our own agreement with IBM: a union contract!!! -anonymous-
    • Comment 07/16/08: The other question I haven't seen relative to the so-called "no layoffs in NY" promise is "for how long?" It would also be nice if those laid off (or was that "fired") were given first consideration for new jobs...whether at the same location or elsewhere. -anonymous-
    • Comment 07/16/08: To -Finite- You think anyone who might have lost their job recently in East Fishkill will be recalled under this deal? I doubt it. And I really doubt NY state really has a clue of what they are doing here. If they have to commit millions of taxpayer money (with the usual budget problems NY state usually has) then that spells trouble. Clearly a desperate attempt by NY state at corporate welfare practices. Even though the former governor (Spitzer) had his foibles he would never have agreed to this deal IMHO. -sby_willie-
    • Comment 07/17/08: sby_willie: Of course I don't think IBM will recall those laid off! To secure the NY deal, perhaps IBM implied they'd be laying off a lot of NY workers and/or moving corporate HQ, neither of which NY State wants. If you've been to upstate NY (the area that stands to benefit most from the announcement), you know that the area desperately needs revitalization. Any kind of local hiring, particularly higher paid workers, will help the local economy immensely. -Finite-
    • Comment 07/18/08: Why do you CONTINUE to want to work for a company, that doesn't care about you anymore? The good ole' days at IBM are long gone and to never return. -Joe-
    • Comment 07/18/08: Well my days of the "IBM connection" have finally come to an end. I was one of the 400+ SSR's outsourced to Qualxserv in '06. My skill set is vast but I was originally 'selected" for Qualxserv because I was our group's guru on small printers. I did this at Qualxserv along with PC's, Laptops, Dell, Appple, Sony, &Canon but never was allowed to receive Dell server training despite over ten years' server experience at IBM. I was told Dell only allocates a certain # of server tech to Qualxserv so there I was with over 25 years' experience running around throwing rollers in customers printers. Now with the IBM/Ricoh deal the printer contract went away (around 25% of Qualxserv's business) IBM wanted to pay per call and not per incident, some of these junk printers require 4 calls so Qualxserv told IBM where to go. There were layoffs this week and at age 60 I found myself out on the street --- for two days!!!!

      I start soon as a server tech for a smaller company who was glad to get my skillset and provide me with Dell training and gave me a $20k raise. Thank you IBM for pulling the contract and thank you Qualxserv for laying me off. Some people there haven't had raises for 8 years. There are jobs out there, get on websites and search. I'm glad to find out my real worth and a company who appreciates a mature tech with a work ethic. Sign me "Glad to be away from Big Blue. -Anonymous-

    • Comment 07/18/08: There was a resource action in SWG and my last day was 07/17. According to the letter I was given it affected about 150 people across the US. I was given 30 days to find an internal job. What a joke... In spite of the fact that I have 20 years of experience in IT and IBM is whining about losing people with z skills they sure are doing nothing to retain us. I was told on more than one occasion by hiring managers: 1. There is a hiring freeze in this division (thats why theres a resource action). 2. I cannot hire outside of my division. 3. We are being told to hire new grads and co-ops. ...And this is the most insulting... A manager I talked to was told . "look in South America or India first because they are 1/3 to 2/3 cheaper than their US counterparts". Yea!!! What a company! -Anonymous IT Specialist-
  • General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 07/18/08: This email was received today from IBM HR. Maybe you can show low salaried college students what a bright future they have at IBM - resource actions and no jobs for those of us left at the job posting websites. When they get a little older, if hired by IBM, they will have all our fun of fearing job loss to those younger and cheaper. So take the following challenge:

      Are you a fan of YouTube? Want to show your creative side and make an impact on the next generation of GBS consultants? Take the 2008 Video Challenge for GBS. Our University Recruiting team is challenging you (GBS Consultants) to use your creativity to show college students nationwide what it’s like to be a consultant at IBM. Explain in a two to five minute video the benefits of an IBM consulting career and why college candidates should join GBS. Selected videos will be showcased in college recruiting this fall to help attract the best and brightest on campus. Winners will also be awarded great prizes:

      • 1st prize winner receives a $3000 cash reward
      • 2nd prize winner receives a $2000 cash reward
      • 3rd prize winner receives a $1000 cash reward

      Just post your video on YouTube, using private group name, "IBM Recruiting Challenge Group" from now until August 31, 2008. Winners will be announced on September 15, 2008. Get the complete details on the GBS U.S. Video Challenge 2008 and enter your video! For more information, please contact Shae Moore. -anonymous-

    • Comment 07/18/08: I guess everyone saw SJP's communication. Here it is on CNN: http://money.cnn.com/2008/07/17/technology/IBM_earns.ap/index.htm?postversion=2008071717 I certainly am feeling a lot better about my 2% raise! Can anybody tell me why we have not unionized this company? I am so disgusted I could spit.... -gadfly-
  • Pension Comments page
    • Comment 7/13/08: Since the 401K+ is giving horridly bad returns (can anyone get a 5% return YTD since the pensions were frozen?) any chance we can get IBM to resume contributing to the pension plans and offer a pension to newer employees? Collective bargaining can get this for us, correct? -curious-

      Alliance Reply: Probably very little, if any chance that IBM will resume contributions to any pension plan or offer a new pension to new employees. IBM has spearheaded the move away from pensions, medical and other benefits; once enjoyed by IBM past employees. That said; Collective bargaining for a union contract between the IBM company and employees and their union reps is definitely an option. However, what must take place prior to that bargaining, is a massive organizing campaign that successfully attracts a majority of IBM employees to join a union. in this case, it would be Alliance@IBM CWA.

      The amount of effort involved is no secret. It needs to be concerted and it needs to persevere through time. The employees are the ones that must step up and do the organizing, inside the company. It is best if they are union members and active employees, inside IBM. We have said previously, that US labor law requires a minimum of 30% of employees to sign union authorization cards; before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will allow a union election process to commence. Generally, unions don't ask for a vote until they achieve 60% or more signed cards.

      The irony is, that is the only way the employees can actually have a chance to negotiate for fair wages, salaries, benefits and working conditions. Individuals can claim they can do it alone; but the results in their favor are miniscule at best. Organize! Join Alliance@IBM

    • Comment 7/14/08: I'd be just as interested to know whether or not anyone can get a positive return YTD, let alone 5%. Don't get too greedy now, what do you think this is, Starbucks? :) -Anonymous-
    • Comment 7/15/08: Yep, a positive YTD return in the 401k+ for this year doesn't seem possible unless you get lucky to "get in and get out" at the right times. The reason I am using 5% YTD hypothetical as a return is that is about the 5.2% that the the present yearly rate of return (.0433% or so at end of each month) for an existing frozen cash balance pension, well at least mine when last checked on netbenefits.com. So the 401k+ is a lame "replacement" for the IBM pension. Why am I not surprised they tried to smooth it over that the 401k+ can make up the retirement investment we lose with a frozen pension despite any of those transitional credits and auto contributions! Now can you see why I want an IBM union with a legal labor contract? We are CONTINUALLY LOSING ground as long as we let the thieves in Armonk continue to run rough shod over us for their own benefit! -Curious-
    • Comment 7/18/08: I suppose I don't even want to know what the pension plan used to be like, because I came in with the 401k+ plan anyway. My first 3 years, I was 100% stable value and have recently made some changes. Since then I've been doing nothing but losing money and getting letters from Fidelity regarding excessive trading/round-robin, whatever that means. I'm currently 70% in IBM stock after some moves, which is doing good for now. I'm going back to stable value at the end of the month and will keep it there until I can figure out something else. I suppose it doesn't help to be getting a 0% return, since you should be earning more than inflation, however losing $$ doesn't help either... -mo_problems-
    • Comment 7/18/08: I have stayed in stable since the day I joined. Get my 5 percent a year and company match when I was working of 30 percent and I figured 35 percent was good enough for me. I have not lost a penny since I started contributing 18 years ago. I personally never understood the stock market so I did not play it with my hard earned money. It is too much of a herd mentality and has no rhyme or reason to me, but to each his own. -Exodus 2007-
  • Raise and Salary Comments
    • Comment 07/11/08: "Thinking that the leave and come back method will be the only way to jump ahead." Yep. I have felt the same way but that is not how this big blow works. I am paid so below the midpoint and have been a PBC 2+ for as long as I can remember and even being in band for over 10 years makes no difference it is hard to believe IBM just doesn't recognize pay for performance even though they say they do. I managed to get a piddly raise but no MBA that I got last year maybe due to the fact I am paid so low. Like it really means I'm finally getting ahead... yeah, right.The raise buckets are so microscopically small now IBM doesn't give a rat's a** whether you are being paid competitively now.

      Anything to save your management money so they can squeeze as much out for a profit. It starts at the top this pay philosophy does. Sam is an A**hole, so are most if not all the IBM executives. Junior wannabe executives at best. No. Leaving and coming back is not an option. IBM doesn't ever admit their mistakes. You think they would hire anyone back at a higher salary now when they can kiss commie red butt in China for pennies on the dollar? ANYONE in IBM USA that doesn't join the Alliance now needs their coconut examined. Unless you kiss the right butt your job is gonna be history before too long. Forget earning more $$$ if you are in IBM now. -Anonymous-

    • Comment 07/11/08: Band Level = 8; Message = To the folks that think working harder than the rest will somehow save them from the ax. IT AIN"T TRUE. You are a number, and if you cost IBM too much outside their cost structure you are gone. There is no such thing as a valuable employee. IBM doesn't value experience, or talent, Oh sure your 1st line mgr might value that, but he doesn't mean a hill of beans when it comes to layoffs. Layoffs come from way up the food chain, and they only see individuals as a cost. If you cost too much, you're a goner! -miss understanding-
    • Comment 07/13/08: Salary = 58,000; Band Level = 6; Years Service = 1; Hours/Week = 50; Message = I've worked in IBM finance for slightly less than 1 year, started at 56k (current salary is 58k) and received a $3k performance bonus in early 2008 (above the annual bonus). I am being promoted from Band 6 to Band 7 which will result in a salary bump. Although I've been told I will receive a salary increase, the amount was not specified. My question is what is the typical salary bump for someone moving from band 6 to band 7? -IBMBlue12345-
    • Comment 07/14/08: -IBMBlue12345- All depends. A lot of factors considered, too. If I had to guesstimate, I'd say 3-5% maybe for a promotional increase. But I wouldn't be surprised if it is less than this range. The most recent salary increases were anywhere from 0-3% for PBC "2+" folks typically. BTW, your present salary as a band 6 does fall in the IBM "competitive range" for band 7 so it is plausible they might not give you any real increase as a "reclassification" since based on what bonus money and past increase as far as IBM is concerned "you are doing rather well for yourself for a one year resource! Being promoted from band 6 to band 7 in one year is, should I say, quite exception in this IBM now! If you are promoted to band 7 expect to stay there a long time, maybe your entire IBM career. Promotions in IBM to band 8 for non-management positions and higher are really rare now. So much for building a career in this Big Blew. -pay$ucks-
    • Comment 07/14/08: Salary = 85,000; Band Level = 7; Message = You'll get a 5% increase (more if you're lucky but don't count on it) from 6 - 7. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 07/14/08: Tax breaks for jobs in Albany, reminds me of a sophisticated money laundering scheme. We can't lower the employees pay anymore, so we'll take away your cities tax revenues for schools and city services.... So let me ask you.... this story is touting the creation of jobs for the state. However as the company keeps telling you all, we just can't find qualified American workers. So when they get the tax breaks that must be to create jobs for the H-1B foreign visa holders...right ?? http://albany.bizjournals.com/albany/stories/2008/07/14/daily3.html?ana=yfcpc -Anon-
    • Comment 07/15/08: Anyone who was reclassified as non-exempt I/T Specialist or I/T admin from the lawsuit get a raise this year? Sounds like more retribution against these folks who were targeted. Next up will be curbing OT potential for them to have the exempt folks to pick it up. -nelifeout there?-
    • Comment 07/15/08: Salary = 67375; Job Title = product service; Years Service = 14; Hours/Week = 40; Location = milwaukee,WI; Message = What is a average product service manager salary? -Anonymous-
    • Comment 7/16/08: Location = UK Message = Hi All. From the UK. B8 Payrise this year 1% despite a PBC1 for the last few years running. I'm still way below Market Rate after 10 years in IBM and 10 years of the same "high performance culture" chat from different 1LMs. I'm outta here - word is they WANT people to quit! Well, they've got their dream with me! Anyone in UK recommend a good agency or two??? Thanks. -JustFedUpWithItAll-
    • Comment 07/16/08: Salary = 98000; Band Level = 9; Job Title = Sr Project Manager; Years Service = 22; Hours/Week = 18; Div Name = Can't Tell ;); Location = Can't Tell ;); Message = Instead of begging for paltry raises, has anybody started shorting IBM stock ? I have exercised all my options @ 125 and sold my ESPP this week. Loaded up on IBM put options for strike 110 for Jan10. I am sure I will get paid, by Jan 2010. Can't leave my $$ raise to mercy of my manager, when we have 5% inflation. -Short_Sell_IBM_Stock-
    • Comment 07/16/08: Yes, it's not just a IBM USA thing about these terrible pay raises. This "global economy" rhetoric as spewed by big business is a way to use the end all word "competition" to dumb down ALL the workers. And the workers are allowing it to happen by believing these increasingly rich "new world order" big business executives who actually are for all practical purposes "stateless". They don't have any allegiance to any country: only to their own greedy and controlling aims. So if one countries economy tanks they just pull up and out and go someplace else and then pillage some more. If workers want better than a paltry 1-2% raise in IBM then you gotta get a union contract to get better raises. IBM pay for performance is now a joke. What don't they understand? Next year I bet most will get 0% since most of the folks in IBM are an increasingly apathetic bunch, except for those folks who have joined the Alliance in the USA and labor unions and councils abroad in the world. It is so sad that most IBMers don't realise that by unionizing they can secure better working conditions for themselves. Why can't they understand this? -macheavelie-
    • Comment 07/17/08: Hey IBM profits jumped 22% last quarter...How do you like that. The company is rubbing it in your face today with their earnings report. Look what we did hooray for us and screw you. Hey, we'll cut everyone's pay by 20% next Q so that we can report a 30% earnings increase and there's not a damn thing anyone is going to do about it! -Anon-
    • Comment 07/17/08: Well, more amazing earnings, beat street expectations, company doing extremely well, etc. No where in the analyst reports did I view the fact that IBM is completely stiffing employees on pay raises, with the sorry excuse that IBM was "worried about the balance of the year", business wise. IBM even went so far as to "raise" guidance for the year! Of course, lack of raise time has passed! Wonder of wonders, now the company is no longer "worried about the balance of the year"! BOHICA to all employees is what IBM real earnings report is all about! -Disgusted-
    • Comment 07/18/08: -Disgusted- Maybe the company raised their earnings projection not because they are expecting to sell more product and services, but because they got away with the wage cuts and the resulting push back from the employees wasn't as bad as expected. They got away with pushing the employees around with little or no collateral damage and it was easy. So lets try it again next year,why not, it's working. Just keep doing it until it fails. Hey think about it too. If you get a 20% increase in company profits and cannot even get a decent cost of living raise how much does it take then? How much do you have to increase company profits by before the benefits trickle down to you.

      Is it 40%,,60%...80% what is it, how much? You're already working 50~55 hours a week, guess you just need to buckle down and work 75 to 80 hours a week. You guys probably were not doing much of anything on the weekends anyway so go into work tomorrow and lets see what happens next time performance reviews come around. Labor stats show that the avg. hourly wage now is $18.00 an hour. That's $37,440 based on a 2,080 hour year. Add in your 15 hours of time and a half overtime, about 700 hours after discounting two weeks vacation and that's another $18,900. Altogether the average worker in the US working the number of hours that you do is at $56,340. From a management perspective almost everyone is above average . Hell we need to get you down to the industry standard level of $56K a year.. -anon-

    • Comment 07/18/08: To -ubuntu2u2- Very well put and well said. Until IBMers realize that their salaries can be raided at will by management; and unless they have a contract there is nothing they can do. Sam could give a shit whether you or your families eat, much less enjoy life as long as you come to work and make record profits for him to get paid bonus money for. Over and over the sheep just bleat as the wolves carry off the lambs. Reading the comments after the article on the main page about how was your raise when the one person wondered when HR was going to do something about this was about the best and hardest laugh I have had in a long time. At least some folks posted about this website God Bless them. -Exodus 2007-
  • PBC Comments
  • International Comments
    • Comment 7/16/08: Location = UK; Message = Hi All. From the UK.; B8 Payrise this year 1% despite a PBC1 for the last few years running. I'm still way below Market Rate after 10 years in IBM and 10 years of the same "high performance culture" chat from different 1LMs. I'm outta here - word is they WANT people to quit! Well, they've got their dream with me! Anyone in UK recommend a good agency or two??? Thanks. -JustFedUpWithItAll-
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